Vine Line EXTRA: March issue preview
Our cover this month was the subject of a lot of discussion — After all the off-season work done by general manager Jim Hendry and his staff, what is left on Lou Piniella’s plate now that games are starting? What best represents some of the open opportunities on this year’s team?
These are the decisions that Lou will be batting around through the spring and into the season, and we tried to convey some of the lineup’s open questions on our March cover. Writing out the lineup is something I specifically got to talk to Lou about last season, in our “In the Dugout” one-on-one sessions. Last September, he spoke about his thought process as he was filling out his card … the combinations (think 2-3-4 instead of 1 through 9), anticipating late-inning switches and how to counter the opponents.
The last one reflects Lou’s willingness to play with his lineup — he said he considers how quick the pitcher is to the plate and how the catcher is throwing, how the wind might affect the game and the typical platoon advantages. The best lineup on a given day isn’t always the fastest, most powerful, most balanced lineup the team could possibly trot out. After this winter, it sounds like Lou is excited to have even more flexibility and balance this season. Check out Vine Line for more on the specific battles going on this spring.
— Sean Ahmed
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